Nursing home abuse is a grave matter, and regrettably, it is not all that uncommon. If you have plans of putting an elderly relative in assisted living, you should always tour the facility yourself and read all the reviews before deciding whether it is a reputable establishment and worthy of patronage. However, if your loved one is already in the nursing home and you suspect any abuse, here are the psychological signs for which you should be looking.
What Constitutes Abuse?
Before we get into the signs that abuse is taking place, we must first define it. Forms of nonphysical maltreatment might include menacing or terrorizing a patient. They might involve threatening to withhold water and food. At DolmanLaw.com, it is also described as isolating the patient from friends and family. Ignoring a patient’s requests and refusing to interact with them might also be a way of abusing them.
How Can You Spot It?
The most common way to spot psychological abuse taking place in a nursing home is if the behaviour of your loved one is dramatically changed when you go to see them. If they do not seem like themselves and they refuse to tell you what is wrong, there could be a form of intimidation taking place.
If your loved one is extremely agitated when you come to see them, that might also be a sign of abuse. Again, the inability or the unwillingness to express what is bothering them might let you know that some of the nursing home staff are to blame.
Assuming that your loved one is of sound mind, then any unusual behaviour could also be a giveaway. Rocking back and forth, muttering, sucking on objects or biting them, or any other inexplicable behaviour could mean that abuse is happening when you are not around.
Problems with Proving Abuse
There are two significant problems if psychological abuse is taking place. The first can arise if the patient is no longer able to express verbally what is happening, not out of fear but because they are suffering from a debilitating disease. How then can they inform you of what is taking place? The second issue is that because what is taking place is not physical, there is no visual evidence that the abuse is occurring.
How to Prove It
If you strongly suspect psychological abuse, you’ll need to bring in some trustworthy legal help. The right lawyer or firm might be able to bring in experts who can interview the various residents of the nursing home, not only your loved one but also the other patients and possibly members of the staff as well. It might seem like an uphill struggle since it could be the word of the patients against that of their caregivers, but the signs of psychological abuse are distinct, and there are numerous instances where it has been proven in court. If you feel like a loved one is at risk, take action. Do not let them languish in a situation where they might come to harm, even if that harm is of the non-physical variety.